Monorail 2.0 a luxury many can`t afford

Hikes of over three times the previous fares compel commuters to consider alternative options, want more price slabs to be introduced.

A flustered Manda Dattu Satpude repeatedly asked co-passengers on Monday if she had indeed boarded the train for Chembur. The confusion rose from the Rs 20 fare she had to shell out for the ride, instead of the Rs 9 she had paid for the past three years, as the entire 19.54-km monorail corridor—from Chembur to Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk became operational on Monday.

With the opening of 10 additional stations in the corridor’s second phase, fares been significantly hiked—they now fall in slabs of Rs 10, Rs, 20, Rs 30 and Rs 40—with the aim of cutting down the Mumbai Metropolitan Development Authority’s (MMRDA) operational losses. The MMRDA currently incurs a loss of Rs 3 lakh a day. Phase 1’s seven stations had fares ranging from Rs 5-Rs 11.

The steep hikes put the monorail service out of many commuters’ reach. “I can’t afford to take the ride anymore. It’ll be cheaper to take a bus, even if it involves a short walk,” said Satpude.

Niaruddin Hanif, whose fare to travel from Bhakti Park in Wadala to RC Marg in Chembur has doubled to Rs 10, said he is mulling over taking an autorickshaw or a bus, instead.

Currey Road resident Surayakant Jamde, 49, desperately wants to take the monorail. It, he said, is the perfect solution to beating the traffic and reaching his office near Vashi Naka on time. He took a test ride on Monday but the return trip fare of Rs 80 a day is deterring him from taking any more trips. He thinks it’s best if he sticks to his train-bus-walk schedule. “Sure, the monorail will be more comfortable, but I can’t spend nearly Rs 2,000 a month on travel alone,” he said.

Dilip Yadav, a retiree who lives in Mysore Colony, Chembur, whose fare has increased from Rs 7 to Rs 20, said having just four price slabs for 17 stations is unreasonable.

Even non-regular commuters complained about the ticket prices. Mehjabeen Sayeed, a resident of Wadala who was taking a joyride to Sant Gadge Mahraj Chowk with a group of neighbours and relatives, felt that taking a bus is a better alternative.

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